Tale Of The Tape: Minnesota Vikings At Baltimore Ravens

Minnesota Vikings
Baltimore Ravens
(credit: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
(credit: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
(credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)
The Vikings are not going to ask a lot from quarterback Matt Cassel or Christian Ponder (concussion). Head coach Leslie Frazier wants either quarterback to read defenses well and throw the short- and medium-range passes with accuracy. If that can be accomplished and Adrian Peterson has a strong performance, the Vikings have a chance to stay in this game.
Winner Joe Flacco hasn’t had spectacular numbers this year and he tends to get criticized because of his big-time paycheck. However, Flacco hasn’t had the support from his running game or offensive line throughout the season. Don’t sell Flacco short. He can throw for distance and velocity, and if the Ravens make the playoffs, it will largely be the result of Flacco’s exploits.
Winner The Vikings have few secrets to their gameplan. They want to run Adrian Peterson to exhaustion, and they let backup running back Toby Gerhart get his yards. Minnesota’s instability at quarterback has kept the Vikings from establishing the passing game. If he can stay on target, look for Jerome Simpson, Greg Jennings and tight end John Carlson to get most of the action.
The Ravens have not gotten the production from Ray Rice that they expected at the start of the season. Rice is averaging 2.9 yards per carry and has rushed for 482 yards. That’s simply not good enough. Torrey Smith has the speed to go downfield and make big plays. He is capable of breaking this game open. Dallas Clark is still one of the game’s most reliable tight ends.
The Vikings make a lot of mistakes on defense and they give up a ton of yardage. That’s a big problem, because Minnesota does not have the kind of offense that can operate from behind. Linebacker Chad Greenway works hard and is the team’s best tackler. Defensive end Jared Allen may have lost a half-step, but he can still flatten out and pressure the quarterback.
Winner The Ravens have been fairly solid on defense after a poor start this season. They rank 10th in yards allowed and eighth against the run. Linebacker Daryl Smith is John Harbaugh’s most reliable defensive player and he leads the team with 95 tackles and he also has 16 passes defensed and 3.5 sacks. Terrell Suggs has a team-high 9.0 sacks and is difficult for bulky offensive tackles to contain.
Special Teams
Winner The Vikings have gotten some huge plays from return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson, who may be the fastest return man in the league. Marcus Sherels is a dangerous punt returner who can also turn a game around. The Vikings have full confidence in placekicker Blair Walsh.
The Ravens are also a strong return team, as Tandon Doss has a punt return for a touchdown to his credit. They also do a solid job in covering kicks as they have not allowed a return of longer than 44 yards. Justin Tucker is having a sensational year, having made 29-of-31 FG attempts this season.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

(credit: Jamie McDonald/Getty Images) (credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Each team earns two check marks, but the Ravens’ edges at quarterback and defense are humongous. They are fighting to get into the playoffs and they are not going to let this home game slip away from them. They should register a big win.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor


  1. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the first quarter against Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by nose tackle Kenny Clark #97 and cornerback Demetri Goodson #39 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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  2. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings as he runs for a first down during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-16.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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  3. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles out of the pocked during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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